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EPA releases guidelines to help communities locate lead pipes that can contaminate drinking water

New guidance advances Biden-Harris administration’s pipe-and-paint action plan, informs $15 billion bipartisan infrastructure law investment

WASHINGTON (August 4, 2022) – Today, the United States Environmental Protection Agency is releasing guidelines that will help communities and water utilities identify lead pipes that connect drinking water service to homes and other buildings. This action marks a key step in the implementation of the Biden-Harris administration’s lead pipes and paint action plan. Coupled with unprecedented funding from the bipartisan Infrastructure Act, these guidelines will help water utilities comply with the requirements of lead and copper rule revisions that came into effect in December 2021 and move forward quickly. in eliminating harmful lead from US drinking water.

“There is no safe level of exposure to lead, and it is essential that we accelerate progress in locating lead pipes that provide drinking water where people live, work and play,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. “Under the leadership of President Biden, the EPA is committed to working with states, tribes, and water utilities to remove lead from our drinking water. We are using all the tools available, including providing this important guidance, strengthening the lead and copper rule, and investing $15 billion through the bipartisan infrastructure act to remove lead pipes.

More specifically, the new Tips for Developing and Maintaining a Service Line Inventory:

  • Provides best practices for inventory development and risk communication.
  • Contains case studies on developing, reviewing and reporting inventories.
  • Includes a template for water systems, states, and tribes to use or adapt to create their own inventory.
  • Emphasizes the importance of prioritizing inventory development in disadvantaged communities and where children live and play.

Under lead and copper rule revisions, water systems are required to prepare and maintain an inventory of utility line materials by October 16, 2024. The new EPA guidelines will help water systems to develop and maintain service line inventories, support notifications to consumers served by lead pipes, and provide states with the information necessary for monitoring and reporting to the EPA.

This guidance will also facilitate the investment of $15 billion in funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act (BIL) which is dedicated to replacing lead service lines. BIL funding may be used for lead service line replacement projects and associated activities directly related to the identification, planning, design and replacement of lead service lines, including the development of service lines themselves.

EPA will continue to strengthen actions to protect communities from lead in drinking water. These directions, together with regulatory improvements, infrastructure investments and other actions, are important steps towards the goal of replacing 100% of lead service lines.

Learn about drinking water, new EPA guidelines (including an upcoming webinar), and efforts to strengthen the lead and copper rule, and EPA infrastructure investments. water through the bipartisan infrastructure law.